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Could Beethoven be Canceled?

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Could Beethoven be Canceled?

Frank Zappa is reported to have said that "All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff." In today's environment he might add that they were also white males. Culture produced by dead white males is the target of "cancel culture," the drive to eliminate anything that might be construed as "oppressive." There was a recent example of a Canadian school eliminating Shakespeare from a literature course in favor of works by Indigenous authors. Today I read an article about a move to cancel Gauguin, another dead white male: The move to cancel Gauguin could kill off Western culture.
At a current Paul Gauguin exhibition at London’s National Gallery, visitors are warned that the famous French painter had sexual relationships with young girls, including two with whom he fathered children.
A wall text notes, “Gauguin undoubtedly exploited his position as a privileged Westerner [in French Polynesia] to make the most of the sexual freedoms available to him.” 
The “warnings” against Gauguin are another step toward excommunicating every Western creative talent from the realm of permissible enjoyment. If left unopposed, the PC fascists will inevitably ban everything by Western-world artists, writers and musicians due to perceived “sensitivities” or “colonialist” violations.
This is likely an exaggeration of course, rhetoric to make a point. Alongside projects to show only women painters or publish only women writers, it does make one wonder, will we get to the point where someone like Beethoven, undeniably a dead white male, will simply be "canceled" in favor of Clara Schumann or Fanny Mendelssohn? It really doesn't seem possible at the moment. I was just at a concert a few weeks ago where music by Clara Schumann for violin and piano was programmed alongside music by Beethoven and frankly, the comparison was not to her advantage. Will music-lovers simply ignore the fact that Beethoven is at the heart of the Western classical tradition and replace him with lesser composers simply because they are women or of a racial minority? It doesn't seem possible, does it? But a few years ago we would have denied the possibility of replacing Shakespeare by Indigenous authors.

The whole idea makes me uneasy... You might remark that Beethoven's biography does not offer the kind of shortcomings that we find in Paul Gauguin: no dallying with young girls or owning of slaves [UPDATE: I didn't mean to imply that Beethoven owned slaves; I was thinking rather of the accusations against the Founding Fathers in the US, some of whom did own slaves]. But I have the distinct impression that the real reason great artists are being "canceled" is simply that they are great artists and greatness is perceived by those who are mediocre as being, well, oppressive. Pathetic, really.



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